Ice Storms & Walking

I have not written much, since my language training is absorbing much of my intellectual energy and making my life predictable. All I do is walk from the Metro to FSI.  We had a little variety with an ice storm a couple days ago. It made walking harder, but produced a few good pictures.

It takes around 25 minutes to walk from the Metro to FSI, door to door. The walk there and back every day, plus other places I have to do give me time to listen to my I-pod and I have some good audio books, so it is not all Portuguese language. I am just finishing “the Pity of War” by Niall Ferguson about World War I.  My next one is “the Atlantic” by Simon Winchester. He is a great writer and I look forward to this new book. But language does occupy most of my thinking.

I think I am reaching a plateau. I understand most of what I hear and read, but i still make silly mistakes when I speak. It gets harder to make progress as you make progress. It is the old story of the more you know, the greater your recognition of the big area you don’t know. The best I heard it described was that it was like a light bulb. The more powerful bulb creates more light, but also touches a bigger perimeter of darkness. I don’t know what else to do, literally. I am doing all the things I think I should and acting on faith now that it will work. Of course, I will come up against the limits of my abilities. It is unpleasant to think that there are limits, but there are limits. I just hope mine is fairly high in this case.

There is so much language to learn and then so much to learn about Brazil. I can only really scratch the surface.  I go back and forth from the appreciating the exhilaration of the challenge  and talking joy in the new understanding to feeling crushed by the weight of what I can never do.  At this time in the training, the doubt predominates. I have been here before, so, fortunately, I know how it will work. This time it is better than during similar periods in other training, actually. I don’t have any real worries about not passing the tests in good form. I recall when I was half way through Polish training I really wondered if I had somehow damaged by brain, since I didn’t feel I was learning enough.  It was the cold winter of doubt. That passed; his will too.

There are so many more language learning resources today. Internet brings us all the sounds and sights of Brazil in real time. But the more you have … it is that old light bulb thing again.

The top two pictures show the ice we had a couple days ago. The bottom picture is a crane. There is lots of construction.  The crane is braced, which makes it look like it is flying.